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  • Tequila Alcohol Content | How Much Alcohol Is In Tequila?

    Published on September 21, 2021
    Tequila Alcohol Content | How Much Alcohol Is In Tequila?

    Tequila is at least 40 percent ABV (alcohol by volume) in the United States. Many tequila brands sold in the U.S. sell their tequilas at exactly 40% ABV or 80 proof.

    Tequila is a distilled spirit known for its high alcohol content. Types of alcohol with similar ABV include mezcal, cognac, and vodka. Tequila is a product unique to Mexico, as only specific areas in certain Mexican states have legal rights to fermenting, distilling, and bottling tequila.

    Like any other alcoholic beverage, drinking too much tequila can damage your health. Tequila is often enjoyed in margaritas with a splash of lime juice, but enjoying this spirit responsibly is one of the best ways to drink tequila.

    Alcohol Content Of Tequila By Brand

    Popular tequila brands and their alcohol contents include:

    • Jose Cuervo Especial Silver Tequila (40% ABV)
    • Patrón (40% ABV)
    • Hornitos Reposado (40% ABV)
    • Don Julio Blanco Tequila (40% ABV)

    A standard 1.5 ounce shot of tequila from these brands will have about 14 grams of pure alcohol in it. This is the same amount of alcohol in an average 12 ounce can of beer, or 5 ounce glass of wine. Compared to many alcoholic drinks, tequila is relatively strong.

    How Tequila Gets Its High Alcohol Content

    The alcohol content in tequila starts with fermentation, where sugar from the blue agave plant is mixed with yeast and left in tanks for over a week. Fermented agave juice is about 6 percent alcohol.

    Most of the ethanol in tequila comes from distillation. A distillery uses machines called stills to heat the fermented juice and get the desired amount of ethyl alcohol from it. Many distilleries distill tequila twice and end up with an alcohol content of at least 40%.

    Many high-quality tequilas are 100% pure agave. The lack of mixers or additives in pure agave tequila can mean less ingredients will dilute the tequila. Tequilas that are not 100% agave, known as mixtos, mix spirits made from sugar juice to keep the alcohol content high.

    Higher Proof Tequila Brands

    Many popular tequila brands sell their tequila at around 40% ABV in the U.S., but higher proof tequila is also out there. Higher proof tequila tends to go for higher prices, with some bottles going for hundreds of dollars.

    High proof tequila is made with the same distilling methods as standard tequila. Its price is likely higher due to brand recognition, presence of unique smoky or fruity undertones, or a delicate aging process.

    Does Aging Affect Tequila’s Alcohol Content?

    Aging is a process that affects the flavor, taste, and color of tequila. Tequila is even separated into different types depending on how long it has aged in wooden casks or oak barrels, if it was aged at all.

    Aged tequilas tend to have smokier flavors and darker colors, but aging does not affect the alcohol content of tequila on its own. A tequila that has aged for twelve months might have the same alcohol content as a blanco tequila that was not aged before bottling.

    Many tequila brands sell aged and non-aged tequilas with the same alcohol content. Patrón is one brand that sells blanco, reposado, and extra añejo tequila all at 40% ABV. These tequilas have different colors and tastes, but all have the same percent alcohol.

    If you think you’re drinking too much tequila and wish to cut back, contact us today for information on our professional treatment options.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Sources

    Electronic Code of Federal Regulations - Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR)
    Izkali Tequila - The 7 Steps of Tequila Making
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - What Is A Standard Drink?

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